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Weekly Features

Geology dept emphasises continued use of services in tough market

By: Dylan Slater The consistent and continual grading of orebodies can help guarantee a mine’s sustainability in a sector that is facing low commodity prices, says State-owned council for mineral technology Mintek mineralogy manager Nosiphiwo Nyamane.  

Laboratory solutions provider expands despite commodity price slump

By: Dylan Slater Laboratory solutions provider Tramecon is extending its service offering and warehouse capacity, in line with increased demand from the mining industry and despite the current industry slump brought on by the downturn in commodity prices.  

Laboratory solutions provider expands despite commodity price slump
NEW BLENDER Tramecon acquired a new 1 t blender enabling it to process larger amounts of reference material batches

New geology software version due for release next year

Mining solutions developer Maptek will release the latest version of its mine-planning software suit Vulcan 10 in the first quarter of 2016. Vulcan incorporates a dedicated geology package that features tools that enable geologists to access and view drillhole data, define geological zones and... 

New geology software version due for release next year
GEOLOGISTS AID Horizon adaptive rectangular prism modelling in Vulcan enables drillhole data and downhole geophysical characteristics to be used to interpret and interpolate coal horizons

Plan under way to prevent equipment failure, ensure reliable analytics

By: Dylan Slater State-owned council for mineral technology Mintek is implementing a five-year “grand plan” to replace existing equipment in its Analytical Services Division, in Randburg, thereby mitigating the risks of breakdowns and unavailability.  

Plan under way to prevent equipment failure, ensure reliable analytics
ANALYTICAL INSTRUMENT Mintek’s Analytical Services Division’s new inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry instrument, similar to this one, will be commissioned at the end of January

Software to assist precision, accuracy of lab samples

Mine design, planning, and operations technologies provider Hexagon Mining has launched MineSight QAQC, a flexible, easy-to-use product to validate and determine the precision and accuracy of field samples, thereby enhancing geology methods.  

Software to assist precision, accuracy of lab samples
SOFTWARE SCREENSHOT The MineSight QAQC software contains components for statistical analysis of laboratory assay data, user-controlled set-up of laboratory and shipment information and for migrating samples after they have been validated


Tramecon is a turnkey laboratory solutions provider, servicing mining projects worldwide from its wholly owned Randburg facility, comprising two mini factories covering 400 m2. The company has recently supplied South Africa-based product logistics monitoring for a Democratic Republic of Congo... 

Analytical Services Division upgrade to streamline efficiency

By: Mia Breytenbach Refurbishments to State-owned minerals research organisation Mintek’s Analytical Services Division are expected to start in the first quarter of 2015, Mintek Analytical Services Division manager Joe Baloyi tells Mining Weekly, highlighting that expanding the division’s services to the... 

Analytical Services Division upgrade to streamline efficiency
STREAMLINED EFFICIENCY Mintek’s Analytical Services Division will create an open-plan laboratory where ore weighing, sample preparation, testing, analysis and results processing are performed in successive stages

Demand increase for geological data management systems

By: Mia Breytenbach Australia-based mining software solutions and services provider MICROMINE has registered a 20% to 30% demand increase for its flexible and secure Geobank and Geobank Mobile mining data-management solutions software, MICROMINE Africa customer services manager Craig Peek tells Mining Weekly. He... 

Demand increase for  geological data management systems
DATA COMPARISON The Sample Tracker module in the Geobank Mobile data management software solution enables users to perform full reconciliation of laboratory dispatch and received samples

Increased demand for mineralogical services

By: Mia Breytenbach State-owned council for mineral technology Mintek has noted a 60% demand increase for its mineralogical services in the past five years, with a significant increase in analysis enquiries on graphites, manganese and phosphates, as well as a surge in inquiries from the platinum mining sector,... 

Increased demand for mineralogical services
TECHNOLOGICAL INVESTMENT The Field emission gun Qemscan 650F implements chemistry and back-scatter electron signals to identify the mineral phases and determine their degree of liberation within particles

Increased uptake of PT schemes

By: Mia Breytenbach Coupled with year-on-year growth for mining laboratory quality-control services provider Qotho Laboratory Services, market uptake of the company’s interlaboratory proficiency testing (PT) schemes for various commodities has been successful over the past 12 months, says MD Hannelie de Beer. “Qotho... 

Increased uptake of  PT schemes
Photo by Bloomberg
ACCREDITATION DRIVE Qotho Laboratory Services recognises that laboratories are implementing ISO 17025 – the laboratory equivalent of the ISO 9000 quality management certification

Statistical method assists in exploration borehole drilling

By: Mia Breytenbach As the mining industry needs to start adopting a fresh approach to determine mineral resources and the exploration required to do so, professional services firm Venmyn Deloitte introduced the Variance Towers statistical method in 2010 to assist in early-stage exploration. “This technique is used... 

Statistical method  assists in exploration borehole drilling
DEFINITIVE APPROACH The Variance Towers technique is used to estimate the minimum number of boreholes to find the information required to declare the inferred to indicated mineral resources

African geoscience promoted through field trips in 2016

By: Pimani Baloyi The upcoming thirty-fifth International Geological Congress’s (IGC’s) local organising committee (LOC) has planned various field trips throughout South Africa and Africa as part of the seven-day conference, which will take place from August 27 to September 4, 2016, at the Cape Town International... 

Growing need for multiskilled geologists, says Venmyn Deloitte

By: Pimani Baloyi There is a growing need for multi-dimensional and multi-skilled young geologists in South Africa, says Venmyn Deloitte director Neil Mc Kenna. He tells Mining Weekly that local universities need to rise to the challenge by producing multi-skilled graduates who can develop the industry. 

Lack of funding for exploration activities impacts on analytical services – minerals research organisation

By: Pimani Baloyi There has been a significant downturn in exploration activity in the last few years, which has had a significant impact on the analytical services sector, says State-owned minerals research organisation Mintek. “The funding available for exploration in the past year has decreased dramatically,... 

Mining software developer improves analysis tool

By: Pimani Baloyi Canada-headquartered mining software and simulation company CAE Mining launched CAE Sirovision 5.1 this month, an improved version of its Sirovision photogrammetric geology and geotechnical data acquisition and analysis tool, which now boasts 40 new features. Sirovision is a geology and... 

New service-driven geomatics supplier breaking even

By: Pimani Baloyi Geospatial products distributor Aciel Geomatics has attributed its start-up success to the company’s approach to business and its focus on being more of a service provider than simply a products provider. “We recognised that the future of this business would be to enter into a contractual... 

Acting CEO highlights future duties of CGS

By: Gia Costella Geoscientific mapping has come a long way since the hand-drawn maps of 1912 and exceptional progress has been made in this area, with the integration of computers and other technologies like satellites, enabling more detailed mapping. However, the Council for Geoscience (CGS) cannot spend the... 

International Geological Conference on track

By: Gia Costella Plans to host South Africa’s second International Geological Conference (IGC) in 2016 are going smoothly, with a full marketing campaign underway to raise funds for and attract delegates to the event, says IGC joint president and local organising committee (LOC) chairperson Professor Richard... 

Protocols ensure legally compliant exploration

By: Gia Costella There is a strong need for protocols in exploration programmes, like geological Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) logging and sampling procedures that ensure compliance with various African mining standards, which ensure accurate, transparent and auditable exploration results.   

Surveys solve environmental challenges

By: Gia Costella Geological surveys maintain their relevance in the twenty-first century, especially in assessing and finding solutions to environmental hazards caused by unsustainable mining practices, says Council for Geoscience (CGS) specialist scientist for the Environmental Geoscience Unit Henk Coetzee.   

Analytical services provider opens three laboratories in Africa

By: Jessica Hannah Analytical services company Performance Laboratories, a subsidiary of multidisciplinary mining company Time Mining, has been awarded two contracts for new outsourced laboratories and has completed construction of its first commercial laboratory in Africa. 

Geoanalytical laboratory opened in Namibia

Mineral analysis service provider Bureau Veritas (BV) reports that it has opened its first geo-analytical laboratory in Swakopmund, Namibia. 

Mineralogy critical to identify and quantify new resources

By: Jessica Hannah The role of geological analytical services is becoming increasingly important within the mining industry, owing to more low-grade mineral deposits being developed and increasingly stringent regulations regarding new mining permits and changes to mine plans being implemented, says national... 

Skills deficit challenging all industries

By: Jessica Hannah A greater emphasis needs to be placed on training geology and chemistry students in analytical services techniques says analytical services consulting company XRD Analytical and Consulting owner and chair of the organising committee for the International Mineralogical Association 2014 conference... 

Software solutions provider awarded Ghanaian gold mine contract

By: Jessica Hannah Mining and exploration software solutions provider Micromine was awarded a contract to implement its Pitram 3 Optimisation software solution at gold producer Gold Fields’ Damang openpit mine, in Ghana, in May. 

Desktop geographical system assists mineral exploration

By: Karishma Thakurdin Location intelligence and mobility solutions company ST Group distributes the Pitney Bowes Business Insight’s Encom Discover desktop geographical information system (GIS), which has been designed especially for the geosciences industry to provide the tools an exploration geologist needs to... 

Geometallurgy is a rapidly growing discipline 

By: Karishma Thakurdin Geometallurgy is a comparatively young analytical field that aims to bridge the gap between geology and metallurgy, says University of Johannesburg research chair in geometallurgy Professor Fanus Viljoen. He explains that the practice involves the application of aspects of geology such as applied... 

Society aims to promote geology

By: Karishma Thakurdin Professional society the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA) has started a variety of initiatives to impart scientific knowledge and an understanding of geology to personnel in the industry and the general public, says GSSA executive manager Dr Craig Smith. 

Stricter quality control can alleviate mining fraud

By: Karishma Thakurdin Geochemical laboratories are expected to follow rigorous quality control procedures and adhere to best practices to prevent mining fraud and to ensure that the measurement of mineral resources are as accurate as possible, says experienced geochemist Keith Kenyon.


BEE company provides 
analytical services

By: Jacqueline Holman Black economically-empowered company Golden Pond Trading 67 provides analytical services, mineral processing and hydrometallurgical process development services to the South African mining industry, as well as internationally.  

Consultancy focuses 
on extending brand 

By: Jacqueline Holman Mining and exploration consultancy Minxcon is focusing on extending its brand internationally and is opening an office in Ghana, says director Johan Odendaal. 

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